Three very different animal characters live in separate apartments in the old chestnut tree.
Edmond, the reclusive, artistic squirrel, lives in a cozy apartment in a chestnut tree, making magnificent pompoms and nut jam. The flamboyant Mr. George Owl lives at the top of the tree, indulging his passion for disguise. He loves to masquerade as different animals—perhaps a rhinoceros, tarantula, or polar bear—using costumes he constructs from natural materials. Hospitable Harry the bear lives on the ground floor of the tree, and he is planning a party for all the animals. Edmond wants to be invited but is much too shy to go. He cries into his nut jam and then goes sadly to bed. But Mr. George Owl persuades him to attend the party, and they go together, the owl strangely disguised as a sea gull. Edmond has a good time, makes some friends, and starts to come out of his shell. He concludes that “Being surrounded by friends was surely what suited him best of all.” No doubt in the interest of readability, the bland, overlong text is typeset in monolithic chunks, but it lacks any visual interaction with the illustrations. This meandering, elliptical rendition of the familiar themes of friendship and acceptance is rescued by Boutavant's vibrantly colorful and elegant illustrations, which offer myriad child-friendly details to pore over.
Buy the book for the illustrations and for the concept of living in a tree, which every preschooler will love. (Picture book. 3-6)